For most of us, the word “doctor” in the health care setting tends to conjure up a person who completed college, innumerable pre-med requirements, medical school, internship, residency and possibly specialty fellowship (sometimes more than one). It implies a long road that ranges more than a decade, inclusive of countless board examinations with continued recertification, annual mandatory continuing medical education credits and accounts for exposure to the most clinical hours of other staff personnel in breadth, depth and scope.

It is this description that we think of when the individual responsible for our care in the hospital or an emergency room or outpatient facility interacts with us. They are no better than any other caregiver albeit a nurse, respiratory therapist or you-...

Watching the jaw drop or tug-of-war facial reaction battle of another person when they discover my educational and career endeavors is so uniformly commonplace that I would be hard pressed to come up with a day let alone a week where such an occurrence didn’t take place.

Apparently, I don’t look like a doctor.

Earlier today the waiter at lunch was first speechless then over-complimenting once it sunk in how dramatic his response was to the news that not only was I one, but I was not fresh in or out of training and had dabbled in the possibility of brain surgery as my chosen vocation.

Typecasting by others or the insistence on attempting to place me in a box is the story of my life.  I always joke I am like Rodney Dangerfield, “I just get no respect.”  Though...